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Is Your Business Too Professional? Part 2

By: Danny Iny


Last week we talked about ways to make your marketing more interesting by being less “professional.” Here are three actions you can take to be a little less professional, and a little more interesting and appealing to your customers.

1. Get into your primary customer’s head and find out his/her strongest desire that relates to your product, then position yourself as the bridge.
It wasn’t until Dos Equis that a beer company really understood a rather large niche market of beer drinkers—men who aspire to live an interesting life. There are niches upon niches, and massive overlaps, but the key is to connect with a specific niche emotionally.
Grab the mindset of your business’s quintessential customer. Jump ahead of the standard “What need does my product solve for this person?” question and go for this: “What ‘dream’ of theirs could my product or service affiliate itself with?”
People buy stuff to improve their lives, and especially with services, there is potential to show them a reflection of their dreams as they look at what you’re selling. I don’t know about you, but when I see even a glimpse of what I want in life, I’m ready to buy anything that brings me closer.
If you’re having trouble relating this to buying beer or toilet paper, understand that these products are more than just their physical components. To some person, fluffy white toilet paper of the best quality could make them feel like they’re successful. To the guy at the bar, buying a Dos Equis might make him feel more interesting, which gives him confidence to approach a girl. Suddenly, his $5 beer is a wingman!
For my company, I want bloggers to understand that they need feedback on their writing to improve their “blind spots,” and that Review My Post is the best way for them to move forward towards their dream of becoming an elite writer/blogger. It’s a compelling reason to buy an inexpensive review, don’t you think?
2. Make the wording on your website or product more interesting or humorous
The legal portion of your website is supposed to be the only bland part. Otherwise, verbose, lifeless text does not excite anyone that I know. Make your information clear, but conversational and approachable, with *gasp* occasional humor, or you’ll sound like the IRS.
“Refunds received from Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) or any other tax credit are not considered income for any federal or federally funded public benefit program. Also, under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, your credit or other tax refund is not counted as a resource for at least 12 months from when your receive it. If you save your refund, federal or federally funded agencies will not use it to determine your eligibility or the amount of your benefit. This new rule is for refunds received after December 31, 2009 and through 2012. It is always best to check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your benefits fall under this provision.” – Excerpt from IRS.gov website
Hey, wake up! You fell asleep on your keyboard. Can you imagine reading a book full of this kind of language?
Maybe it’s just me, but I am always refreshed when I see a company like Glacéau.
“The inside is natural. The outside is plastic.” – Glacéau Smart Water Bottle
They could have said “This bottle, made from high-density polyethylene, contains natural ingredients.”
Glacéau knows that when a person sees something funny, unique, or interesting, they might just share it. Again, sorry to pick on Uncle Sam, but how often are IRS quotes shared on Facebook when someone isn’t complaining about them? I have shown people my vitamin water bottle before because the writing on the back was interesting. Glacéau got me to give them the most valuable marketing gift a company can ask for—word-of-mouth advertising.
3. Find an area your competitors are all the same in, and be different
The caveat with this one is that you must choose strategically. For example, a restaurant can’t say, “all other restaurants try to give good service, so we’ll be rude.”
Actually, that worked.
At Ed Debevic’s restaurant in Chicago, wait staff treat people horribly on purpose and it’s a popular tourist spot. You’d be surprised at how effective being one in a million can be, even if it’s in a negative way.
“The fun never stops at Ed’s. the louder and more sarcastic you are, the better the service.” – Review from Google+
So when I say strategically, I mean that you can’t say, “We’ll only offer onions on burgers at our restaurant,” because that doesn’t mean much to anyone and it’s not remarkable. But if you offered 45 different sauces for your burgers, that’s remarkable.
Your particular business has big implications on how you can apply this advice, so the big takeaway is this…
Don’t Scare Yourself Into Mediocrity
Marketing affects toilet paper sales. Toilet paper sales. That means it affects everything.
Don’t sell yourself short by thinking, “I sell what I sell, and people will want it or not.” People want to be sold to. They are always looking for products and services to improve their lives.
Try something crazy. It worked for Half.com.
When Half.com marketing VP Mark Hughes convinced Halfway, Oregon to rename their town to Half.com, the story received national press. In other words, they received national advertising for free. Half.com sells books, music, and other forms of media, all of which have nothing to do with their unique marketing idea.
Half.com was sold to eBay six months later for $300 million. They stood out. And the ripple effect continues, as I’m writing about them now.
This is a challenge to you. It’s time to stop trading money for exposure and stopping there. Be different, be remarkable, and and you’ll get better results for free.
Think about your business.
  1. How are you positioned?
  2. Are you really different from your competitors?
  3. In what ways are you more or less relatable to your target market?
  4. Have you tried doing something remarkable yet or are you playing it safe, hoping people will see that you “provide world-class customer service” and be amazed?
Let’s discuss in the comments how your business is relatable and differentiated or what you plan to do to make it that way. I’m excited to hear what you think, and how you position yourself!
This article was originally published by Firepole Marketing
Stephen Guise is the founder of Review My Post – It’s More Than Editing, It’s A Review. Come visit us to see how we can help you become a better writer.
Published: September 17, 2013

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Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, is the proud founder of Firepole Marketing. He’s also the author of the Amazon best-selling book Engagement from Scratch!, the Naked Marketing Manifesto, and the Audience Business Masterclass. In addition to all of the above, Danny is a super-friendly guy who makes a point of responding to emails and messages within 24 hours—so follow him on Twitter @DannyIny, Google+, or just send him an email and say hello!

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